Top 10 Grossest Food Facts Ever

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Top 10 Grossest Food Facts Ever

VOICE OVER: Peter DeGiglio
These nasty food facts will make you gag! For this list, we're looking at the most disgusting facts about the things you eat every day. Our countdown includes Poisoned Honey, Shrimp Poop, Kopi Luwak, and more!
Transcript

Top 10 Gross Facts About Food


Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 gross facts about food.

For this list, we’re looking at the most disgusting facts about the things you eat every day.

Let us know in the comments if you’ll be switching up your diet or braving these weird ingredients.

#10: Cochineal Bugs

The cochineal insect is a small bug endemic to the Americas. Underneath its waxy exterior, it is vivid red, due to the presence of “carminic acid,” which it uses as a defense mechanism. This acid can be extracted and diluted with other substances, creating a bright red dye generally known as “carmine” or “natural red 4”. This bug extract is harmless to humans and has long been a common additive to make foods redder. However, most people don’t like the idea of an insect as part of their Frappuccino – as Starbucks discovered in 2012 when people protested their use of carmine dye. Starbucks ended up removing the dye for an alternative.


#9: Poisoned Honey

It’s widely recommended that children under the age of 1 shouldn’t consume honey at all because it can sometimes contain bacteria that is dangerous to a baby. The vast majority of honey is safe to eat, but because of the chance of a baby contracting botulism, the recommendation is important to follow. Botulism is also a dangerous disease for adults to contract and can even cause paralysis, but adult digestive systems are able to process the spores in the honey before they multiply enough to become a life-threatening illness. It’s certainly better to err on the side of caution and keep honey and honey-containing products away from babies.

#8: Shellac

You may know this substance better by the friendly nickname “confectioner’s glaze,” which makes it sound like a delicious, sugary coating for all kinds of tasty treats. But while shellac isn’t harmful when used in food, it’s another common additive made from bugs. Specifically, shellac is a resin secreted by the “lac bug”, which is indigenous to India and Thailand and is also cultivated in China and Vietnam. You’ve almost certainly eaten shellac, too, if you’ve ever eaten common candies like jellybeans. Perhaps more disturbing than shellac’s insectoid origins, however, is the other products it’s also used in, which include nail and furniture polish. Those are substances you definitely don’t want to eat.


#7: Pink Slime

You’ve probably seen images of the infamous “pink slime” circulating on the internet – but is this a real substance, and more importantly, have you ever eaten it? The answer to both of those questions is likely “yes.” Pink slime, or “lean finely textured beef,” is commonly added to processed meats like ground beef and hamburgers; in fact, some ground beef might be more pink slime than fresh beef. It’s used so that meat production companies can make their beef go further by diluting fresh meat with the processed alternative – ew. And in 2019 the “pink slime” was officially categorized as ground beef on its own in the US; it’s safe to eat, but is it worth it?

#6: Kopi Luwak

When most people drink coffee, they hope that the coffee hasn’t already been consumed, digested, and excreted before going into their cup. Unfortunately, if you’re a fan of luxurious “kopi luwak” coffee, that won’t be the case. Though kopi luwak is internationally recognized as being “delicious,” it’s made from coffee cherries that have been eaten and pooped out by the Asian palm civet, a cat-like mammal that lives throughout Southeast Asia, from India to Indonesia. Supposedly, this adds to the flavor, but does that matter when knowing how it’s produced will turn your stomach? On the bright side, it’s so expensive that there’s no danger of drinking it by mistake.

#5: Rennet

There’s a reason why lots of cheeses aren’t suitable for vegetarians or people with other dietary requirements, and it’s because many use rennet in their production. Rennet is an enzyme commonly found in the stomach lining of calves used to separate curds and whey in milk – something you have to do to make certain cheeses. Luckily, there are lots of vegetarian and vegan alternatives, such as extracts from figs and nettles. Though almost as gross is the rennet alternative that uses mold. Animal rennet and cheeses that use it aren’t going to do you any harm, but we won’t judge you if knowing this changes the way you think about cheese.


#4: Shrimp Poop

If you’ve ever prepared a meal or recipe that uses shrimp, you’ve probably had to de-vein your ingredients. But what exactly is that “vein”? Well, it actually isn’t a vein and has nothing to do with blood; no, it’s the shrimp’s intestine, and it’s full of exactly what you’d expect an intestine to be full of: poop. It’s impossible to tell exactly what’s in the intestine since you don’t know what kind of garbage the shrimp was eating when it was still alive, but if you have a weak stomach, you’ll definitely want to pull out that vein. Thankfully, there’s little risk to eating a shrimp that hasn’t been deveined, it’ll only change the taste somewhat.

#3: Castoreum

This is another case of a so-called “luxury” food item being one of the most disgusting things known to man. Castoreum is an extract you can find in a specific beaver gland called a “castor sac,” which is used by the beaver to mark its territory. The problem? That gland is in the beaver’s anus. Harvesting castoreum is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive, which is why you’ll only find it in the most high-end, luxury goods – specifically, costly vanilla ice cream and some perfumes that contain a vanilla note. Don’t worry though, regular vanilla ice cream won’t contain castoreum; if a product is friendly to your wallet, it probably didn’t come from a beaver’s butt.


#2: Dead Wasps

If you’ve ever eaten a fig, the chances are high that you may have also eaten the digested remains of a wasp – yes, really. That’s because as maligned as wasps are, they’re highly important pollinators in the ecosystem, and are the main pollinators of some of the figs we cultivate and eat. Female fig wasps will climb inside figs to lay their eggs – but the catch is they need to be male figs or the wasp can’t get back out. The wasps can’t tell which figs are which and often, they’ll die an unpleasant death inside. Thankfully, the fig is perfectly capable of digesting the wasp so that nothing remains, which is why you’ve never found one.

#1: What the FDA Allows

Most people will have heard horror stories about what the US’s Food and Drug Administration allows into the products the American public consumes – and unfortunately, many of those stories are completely true. There are “acceptable” levels of all kinds of dangerous and disgusting things according to the FDA, including allowing hairs and insect fragments in peanut butter; allowing over a dozen maggots in cans of mushrooms; allowing traces of feces in widely consumed hot dogs and insect eggs in raisins; and even allowing tomato paste and canned pineapples to contain certain levels of mold. If you want to continue to eat food without feeling horrible, it’s best you don’t look into FDA food regulations any further.
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